To be a good tester, you have to be a good writer

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    The communication aspect of being a software tester interests me.

    One of the things that distinguishes a good tester from a mediocre one is the ability to communicate in writing

    A blog post by Bill Smith that I read recently included the above quote. He makes the argument that communication skills are so important for testers and you need to have excellent writing skills. Do you think that he has a point or is technical ability more important?

    Tony Bruce interviewed a number of testers at EuroSTAR 2011 and a number of them highlighted communication as the most important skill. View the video here.

    So, more specifically than “communication” – is written communication even more important?


    Definitly not! A good tester should have the ability to do black box testing, i.e. he/she shall apply test cases without understanding or care for the internal structure or how the object is built. This only limits the good test cases! You should as tester have the feeling that cracking the system is ok, and this will grant you a rose (or some other benefit) from the design team.
    But ofcourse you need as everyone to have the ability to communicate the result in a way that suits the receiver, and in many of today’s organization I see that writing has become less important and the use of short messages in Lync (computer dialog) and videos are used instead. For me this is also supporting the agile way of working!


    RE: “To be a good tester, you have to be a good writer”
    > Well, I don’t think you have to but being good at writing can help you tell a better story and telling a better story plays important role in software testing. Even if you are not a tester, writing skill is also so useful skill to me. No, you don’t have to be a next-Hemmingway to write, you just need to practice to write.


    Not required, but it can help.

    But then again people with dyslexia could be great testers too.
    People who stutter can give presentations too . also on testing.

    Greatness of a tester is not in a single trait, but as a whole.


    A professional tester is providing an informaition service to other people. Obviously such a tester has to be able to communicate the results of that service to other psople. To do that, the tester must have “people skills”—the more the better, but there’s no one right set of those skills.

    You can be a great writer, but people will still misunderstand you, so you’d better have some other skills to go with your writing.

    You can be a great talker, but people will still misunderstand you, so you’d better have some other skills to go with your talking.

    You can make movies, or demonstrations, or ballets, or operas, or pantomimes, or paintings to communicate, but you will always find some clients who misunderstand you, so you’d better cultivate as many communication skills as you possibly can.

    Jerry Weinberg

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